These self-proclaimed monster mash enthusiasts are a west-coast trio made up of two leading vocalists and guitarists, Heidi Alexander, Grace Cooper (both hail from their beginnings as back up vocalists of the Fresh and Onlys) and Lance Kramer on drums. The Sandwitches originated in the west coast, San Francisco. Their debut album is likened much to a delicious yet nebulous sandwich, layered with unusual ingredients and toppings that linger on your tongue and resonate in your eardrums. How To Make Ambient Sandcake is a an album that reads like a children’s book; it’s amalgamation of cryptic lyrics with bubble gum buoyancy captures your inner child, begging where this will take you while it is blindly leading you on with twists you never saw coming.
When the much-anticipated sophomore album “Mrs. Jones’ Cookie’s” (Empty Cellar Records) was released, the child-like wonder of How to Make Ambient Sand Cake had decayed and crumbled away. The vocals at times can be dissonant and borderline awkward. The lead vocalist’s croons could be mistaken for a jarring rendition of a pre-pubescent boys spiel at his bar mitzvah, with the trembling hymns crackling and shattering as his voice and balls drop simultaneously.
Yet the words in each song are remarkable. An example is the track “Joe Say’s,” where the lyrics reflect a somber-like nostalgia:
“Joe says, tell me, do you love me? Every ounce of me?” And later the foreboding suspicion unravels into a carefully crafted cautionary tale:
“Joe, oh he say’s no… he is out there doing something.” This back and forth stream of consciousness and doubt leaks through into the other songs as well. Many tracks are odes to those who exist only in harmony and yelp in the eerie corners of agony in our preoccupied brains.
“My Heart Does Swell” off the album is just one example of how their delicate lyrics can devastate the listener, even amidst the twang and old-timey piano ballads.